I used to keep a journal as a young girl. I filled its blank pages with hopes and dreams for the future, I was destined to have. I would eventually live in a lavish 8 bedroom mansion with a butler named Turtle. I would be a famous painter matching the likes of Picasso and Salvador Dahlia. During the week I would be called on a dangerous James Bond-type mission, where I would save the world from evil drug dealers and the like, in one 12 hour work day, with barley a scratch on me. Ahhhh…. The dreams and possibilities of being young. The world was wide open, I could be and do anything, and all I had to do was choose, and apply myself.
As the years grew on me like some fungus you cant get rid of, life just slowed down. All the drama and passion of my younger years faded, and the slow boring crawl of adulthood took over. I have become so inundated with responsibilities, bills, and dentist appointments, that I would argue with myself, that there was no time for silly little girl dreams. Life became less fun, more stressful, it became less about what I believed to be possible and more about what I was told was impossible. Its like we become adults and the world all of a sudden becomes this grey mono-toned color where we all slowly go about our daily activities to some gloomy music, duuun..work….duuuun..traffic… duuuun….bills… duuuuuun…dentist. All the things I wanted to do became wrapped up in a dream carved box and pushed onto a dusty shelf, only to be opened later as a big box of regrets, and failed attempts.
I always imagined I was going to accomplish so much, that I was going to single handedly change the world. Only to grow up and discover the only change I ever made was to get bigger sized pants and paint my living room a brazen color like red! Which, by the way I highly suggest not doing, mostly because if you want to change it sometime in the future, you will be truly angry with yourself despite how easy the home depot sales people say it will be. Also do not even consider it if your not a good painter, like me (recently discovered fault of mine) because mistakes are really easy to spot.
Suddenly on some random, usually sunny, day clarity slaps you in the face. For me I think it was the blessing of seeing people in their death beds and listening to their stories. Some of them full of regrets, things not said, and opportunities missed. And a few were full of joy, chances taken dreams fulfilled. It was an eye opener for me, truth is I wasn’t finished yet. I realized that I still had an opportunity to dream, and if I continued to let the mundane pace of adulthood slip in, it would strangle me.
All these heavy thoughts got me thinking, and I mean really thinking. What dreams, and goals from my past is it time to give up on? Should I bother replacing old dreams with new ones, only to be let down in another 10…20 years, then have to write another blog about it? Or is it finally time to listen to my parents and make some real goals, such as getting a raise at the job I don’t like? What dreams are any of us willing to let go of 1/2 way through the game? And what dreams should we give up on?
I decided that it is time to become realistic about my future. I have decided to officially give up……… Some dreams anyway. Here’s the thing, I know it sounds like a defeatist attitude, but honestly there are some things I am just not cut out for. The movie Rudy for example. It’s a wonderful story, about dreams, determination, and a lot of heart. But there is a problem with the story, although Rudy was put in for one play, and he did an amazing job. One can’t deny that he probably would have been a terrible overall player, long term. It’s not to say that it wasn’t worth all his effort, for him it most certainly was. For me, I have a lot of dreams, and a lot of ground to cover, so I can’t waste my time, practicing to become the greatest hip- hop dance fighter the world has ever seen. I am a hopeless klutz and no matter the amount of practice, I will always look like a mentally challenged chimpanzee on meth, while dancing. I’m not trying to tear myself down it is just a fact and I am ok with it.
I guess it is time to get down to it, I will most likely never own a Mercedes Benz, I will never have enough disposable income to justify purchasing one, plus if Janis Joplin couldn’t attain one, what are my odds? I will never go deep sea diving, it always seemed great and adventurous, but quite frankly I have reached a point in my life where It just scares the shit out of me, anyway. I will never be an Olympic contender, I am past the point in my life, where it is just not feasible. I won’t become an astronaut, I’m just not that smart, again it’s a fact not a put down. There are a lot of things that I can’t do, which maybe contradictory to all the adults who told me I can do anything I wanted, but I think the only way to reach your goals is to at least make them obtainable, and realistic.
So what now? I could berate myself, why wasn’t I more focused, why, did I squander my younger years away on friends and folly, always believing that I had ample time to sneak in some accomplishments and trophies. Although I strongly believe that spending to much time thinking about the past is a sure fire way to stay there. I could blame my parents, that’s always a good fall back plan. Why didn’t you support me? Why didn’t you push me harder? Seems a little unfair though doesn’t it. I could of course do the most productive thing and look inside myself and decide to keep moving forward. I could decide that everyday, nay every hour is an opportunity to move closer to my dreams. I could unwrap the binding chains of adulthood and face my fears. I still have time to become the woman I dreamed of but this time will be different this time I will not let myself get in the way. Indeed the road to success is paved with many desirable parking spaces.
I may not be as young as I once was, I may have some limitations (lots of limitations) especially when it comes to dancing. Maybe I didn’t start a revolutionary company like Bill Gates, in his 20s.Or write and publish a famous novel like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein also in her 20s. I still have plenty of time to put my stamp on the world. For example Jean Eugene Atget, now considered one of the greatest photographers, took up photography, at the ripe age of 40. And at the age of 50 Samuel Adams directed the Boston Tea Party, (he also makes a great beer…wait, it might not be the same guy?) Still even more impressive at the age of 80 Christine Brown of Laguna Hills, California flew to China and climbed the Great Wall! Here I come mt Everest! The fact is its never to late to claim your dreams.
Its too late to change my past, unless…(insert evil grin) I invent a time machine, and get my past self all fired up for dreams and accomplishments, and become famous, which will essentially negate the need for time machine building in the future. Thus the time machine never gets built, and if it never gets made, then I miss out on the Nobel prize and never go back in time to begin with, soooo…mmmk lets just say time machines are never good ideas, but I digress. I can’t change my past, the only thing I can do now is move forward…
So YES I have given up, I have given up on all the unobtainable dreams of my youth, and right now, I am pleased with that (I hear gigantic 8 bedroom mansions have really high electric bills), because I have made some practical, real life goals that can be accomplished, with a little focus, determination and a lot of heart. And hopefully I can die with peace in my heart knowing that I didn’t give in or give up.